AS I sat in the pavilion at Albert Park watching the performances on the main stage, and during a break, the master of ceremony announced that a child was missing.
It then dawned on me that I had received an e-mail from police hours earlier of concerns about the high number of children already found wandering alone at the 2013 Hibiscus Festival.
This is a common happening in big festivals such as the Hibiscus Festival — and parents, guardians or adults are always advised not to take their eyes off the children.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro urged parents and guardians to take extra care of their children and know their whereabouts because they had a tendency to wander off unattended considering the attractions at the grounds.
She said police officers were out in numbers and children suspected of being lost at the grounds would be taken to the Command Forward center located at the main stage pavilion where their details would be announced at the Duavata Community villa.
"Let's all ensure that the 2013 Hibiscus Festival is an incident-free one and pay closer attention to the movement of our children at the grounds," Ms Naisoro said.
Social Welfare Minister Dr Jiko Luveni shared her experience of taking her children to the festival, and said they organised themselves before going to Albert Park.
"We, if for instance anyone gets missing, we have a point like a tree or one of those stores, we tell the children if you do get missing or we miss you, just go to the point," she said.
"You really have to organise your family before going into an event where so many people are rushing around. But for the younger ones, the mothers and fathers have the responsibility to keep them close, this is very basic training.
"They must hold their hands and be in contact with them all the time.
"We cannot underscore the importance of parental responsibility to ensure there is a foolproof way of being in contact with the children so they don't get missing."
Dr Luveni said family discipline was important.
She said there should be some understanding between the children and the parents and there should be a contingency plan before they entered Albert Park.
With thousands of people and various attractions, the onus is on adults accompanying children, particularly the very young ones, to be on full alert all the time.